Are we getting better?
I was recently looking over the Transport Canada statistics to see how we’ve done with road safety. Some things have improved, but other things have gotten worse. I still shake my head about these statistics and wonder how we can get better and reduce serious injury and fatalities.
The latest statistics come from 2006. If we’re driving safer vehicles and have imposed tougher laws across our country, why are there more injuries for drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians? We have increased fatalities with cyclists and pedestrians over the last few years, so are we even noticing them as drivers? How much room do you give a pedestrian or cyclist?
There always seems to be close to 400 pedestrians killed each year in Canada, and a high number of seriously injured. Can we spot pedestrians while we drive? Is there anything we can do to improve these statistics and help us all survive on the roads? Some of the pedestrians get struck while walking between parked vehicles. If you’re approaching parked vehicles, have a quick glance from a distance to see if you can spot feet or bicycle wheels in front. Since the body of the vehicle is above the road surface, you’ll be able to if anyone is walking in front of the vehicle. You’ll need to do this early to be able to see the feet. Driving a little slower will also help you see and respond early to pedestrians.
Each year we also have too many cyclists struck and killed by drivers. They should be easier seen than pedestrians, but that isn’t happening. We need to treat them with respect and share the road with them. If the cyclist moves around a pot hole or sewer they would need to drift to their left in the lane. If we’re passing them at the same time as they drift, we’ll collide with them. Change lanes early if possible to give them room, or if you can’t, give them half a lane so the driver behind you can also see what you’re doing and possibly respond the same way.
The other day I heard of a horrific crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist. A driver pulled out of a parking lot directly in front of a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist couldn’t respond in time and drove directly into the side of the vehicle. Thankfully the rider survived, but why did the driver of the vehicle pull out? Why didn’t they see the motorcyclist?
If drivers begin looking for more possible problems, they may be able to avoid them. We don’t see what we’re not looking for. In other words, we need to look for the pedestrians, cyclist and motorcycles before we pull out into traffic so we can avoid them. If we can all do this, we can finally lower the injury and fatalities across Canada.